Texas Medical Center reports only 4% uptick in ICU bed use despite continued COVID-19 case increases

Compared to 1,350 total intensive care unit beds in use June 30, the Texas Medical Center has seen only a slight uptick in occupancies since then, with 1,394 reported in use July 9, according to the medical center's public reports.

Those occupancy numbers still mean the TMC is in its Phase 2 surge levels, however, which allocates an additional 373 ICU beds on top of TMC’s Phase 1 base ICU capacity of 1,330 beds, in addition to more staff and equipment.

This comes as the TMC reports an average of 412 new daily COVID-19 hospitalizations in its hospitals across nine counties in the Greater Houston area in the last two days. Compared to the last seven days, COVID-19 admissions have followed a 4.3% daily growth rate.

COVID-19 hospitalizations overall have jumped in the last several days at the medical center, at 2,365 reported July 9, up from 1,747 on June 30, an over 26% increase.

With those hospitalizations, 646 COVID-19 patients are now in the ICU, an 11% increase from June 30 numbers. As of July 9, COVID-19 patients make up 46% of the medical center’s current ICU bed capacity. The remaining 54% make up 748 beds occupied by noncoronavirus patients.


While ICU occupancy is on the rise, so are beds used for general medical/surgical use, TMC data shows. ICU bed usage has maintained a 3.2% average daily growth over the last seven days, while medical/surgical bed use is on a 3.3% rise.

It should be noted these rates have slowed compared to the week of June 30, when the medical center reported a 4% daily growth in occupancy of ICU beds and 6.3% daily growth in occupancy of medical/surgical beds.

At current growth rates, the TMC will not need to enter Phase 3 ICU bed capacity levels until July 22. Such a move would mean further planned utilization of Phase 2 levels of surge capacity to provide additional temporary ICU capacity with 504 more beds.

“This can be managed by appropriately transferring patients from ICU to Medical/Surgical beds and potentially by delaying some procedures,” the TMC wrote on its dashboard slides about the data.

This comes as Gov. Greg Abbott has attempted to free up more beds for future COVID-19 patients by ordering the postponement of all non-medically necessary surgeries in hospitals across more than 100 Texas counties July 9. This is in addition to a previous executive order by Abbott on June 25 that required hospitals only in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties to postpone all non-medically necessary surgeries and procedures unrelated to COVID-19 during the pandemic.
By Hunter Marrow
Hunter Marrow came to Community Impact Newspaper in January 2020. Before that, Hunter covered local news in Ontario, OR for three years, covering municipal issues, crime, and education across Malheur County and across the border into Idaho.


MOST RECENT

City of Bellaire budget
Bellaire City Council approves $60 million budget, flat tax rate for 2020-21

This year, Bellaire expects to tap into its fund balance while raising less money from property taxes.

George Buenik, Houston's director of safety and homeland security, urged residents to stay home throughout the day and evening Sept. 22. (Courtesy Houston Office of Emergency Management)
Tropical Depression Beta: Houston officials urge residents to stay home over next 24 hours

More rain bands will continue to cross the region through the day and into the evening.

The deadline to register to vote in Harris County is approaching. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Here’s how to register to vote in Harris County

Sept. 22 is National Voter Registration Day, a nonpartisan, civic effort to encourage eligible U.S. citizens to confirm their voter registration status in time for the upcoming election.

The city of Bellaire has updated its services as streets are beginning to see high water levels from Tropical Storm Beta rainfall. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
Beta updates: Bellaire closes facilities, adjusts services amid downpour

City Hall and the Bellaire City Library will be closed Sept. 22.

Greentown Labs
Clean-energy incubator Greentown Labs to take over Midtown Fiesta

There is a green future for the Midtown Fiesta.

The Harris County Flood Warning System measured measured over 11 inches of rain near the Westbury area in 24 hours as of almost 9 a.m. Sept. 22. (Screenshot Harris County Flood Warning System)
Beta updates: Flood control district monitoring Brays Bayou; Willow Waterhole nears flood stage overnight

The Harris County Flood Control District lists Brays Bayou as one of several Houston-area bayous "near bankfull" as it continues to monitor flood levels. 

Bellaire will soon start a pilot program for automated license plate readers. (Photo courtesy Flock Safety)
Bellaire police will soon begin testing license plate readers

Bellaire will install 10 cameras on major entrances and exits into and out of the city.

Former Houston ISD Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby is the target of a federal civil suit. (Community Impact staff)
Federal court filing: $186,000 seized from former Houston ISD official, contractor under investigation

The official is no longer employed by the district, and Houston ISD is not named in the filing.

Alto Houstono
Ride-hailing app Alto expanding to Houston

Dallas-based ride-hailing service Alto has its sights set on Houston for its first expansion market.

The Harris County Department of Education lowered its tax rate for the 2020-21 fiscal year. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Harris County Department of Education lowers tax rate for 2020-21

For the average homestead valued at $182,484, that means taxpayers will contribute $9.11 to support its programs.

Another 1,372 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Harris County over the Sept. 19-20 weekend along with 48 deaths caused by the virus. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: Texas Medical Center positivity rate under 5% for two straight weeks

A low positivity rate is one of three metrics medical center officials are tracking that they say may indicate a declining spread of the virus.

Free COVID-19 testing will be available to festival staff, participants and patrons every weekend of the festival this fall. (Courtesy Steven David Photography)
Free COVID-19 testing at Texas Renaissance Festival and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.